DENVER – A recent study on the economic well-being of large corporate venue owners found that a surprising number are living merch cut to merch cut.
“It’s been a rough couple of years,” said John Hender, the head of Shining Star Entertainment Group and owner of the Tostitos Bowl, a 15,000-seat arena in Littleton. “Profit margins on $28 beers are the thinnest they’ve ever been and we’ve been looking for new revenue opportunities since bonuses ate away our PPP loan. Merch cuts definitely aren’t what they used to be, but they’re the only thing keeping the lights on in this place. Musicians make a living on their talent and creativity, and who could put a price on that? The least they can do is share their wealth. It’s a difficult choice for us and we don’t do it lightly, but musicians should be proud that their merch is helping us keep such a historic part of the local scene open during a difficult time.”
Despite many venue owners’ insistence that merch cuts would not exceed a meager 40% of sales, many musicians criticized the business opportunity.
“It’s absolute horseshit. We invest in the merch, we set it up, we do the inventory, all they do is provide a small sliver of real estate for us to set up our table and at the end of the night they won’t let us leave until they check out inventory counts” said bassist Clark Funtz of Denver-based alt-rock trio Spiteface. “I have to keep dodging the venue staff looking for their cut. Luckily I was able to trap one of them in a broom closet, but he’ll probably find his way out of there in a couple hours.”
Economists have noticed similar trends in other industries.
”Across the board, we’re seeing hard-working people having to tighten their belts in these trying times,” said market analyst Henry Ruddick. “I’ve seen payday loan companies triple their interest rates to make ends meet, and it’s sad to see such a predatory industry forced to do that. It doesn’t matter what your assets are in this economy–we’ve seen landlords getting backed into a corner by luxury car payments and being forced to raise rents just to put food on the tables. ”
At press time, corporate-owned venues were considering adding metered parking for tour buses in their parking lots.